Introducing Poetry to Kids
What do you think of when you think of poetry? It can mean a variety of things to different people, but generally speaking poetry is a work of literature expressing emotion through the use of distinct rhythm and style. Learning to express emotion is not often prioritized and why many of us (me included) have such a hard time understanding and enjoying poetry. Instead, we are told as kids to dissect a poem for hidden meanings and intellectually find its message. But what if we approached poetry differently? Many of the first books read to us as children are rhythmic poetry. Picture books are often in verse. Their purposes are not only to help kids learn, but to emotionally engage with a story's ideas through rhyme. As children get older, rhyming seems to be emphasized quite a bit less in favor of other means of learning. But I would encourage continuing to engage with poems on more complex levels as we get older. If your child is interested in certain subjects, like math, science, or music, try to find poetry collections about those things. They are already interested in the subject matter. That will make it so much easier and feel less like a school assignment. Below, I've included children's poetry books in the library collection that I've particularly connected with. As an infrequent poetry reader, a poetry collection like this will be a good start for you if you also have reluctant poetry readers as well.